Showing posts from July, 2014

Walking Through Darkness With Your Teen - Part 3

A few things we've learned and what we would like others to understand: This happens to normal families.  I don't know what I was expecting, but the families in our Intensive Outpatient Program were normal, caring, intact families.  Through this process, I've become less judgmental of parents who have what appears to be a difficult teen.  I'll add that these were all families willing to put in some serious time commitment and work to help their teens and themselves heal and improve.  This DBT group was not court-mandated, but completely voluntary. We were honored to share life with these families during the 7-week program. Parents can't discipline or force their kids into mental health.   We as parents have had to become very aware of behaviors that are simply typical teenage rebellion, which result in discipline, or behaviors that occur because our teen truly does not know how to respond appropriately or how to manage a particular emotion she's having.

Walking Through Darkness With Your Teen - Part 2

Since the first week in April when our teen went to an inpatient hospital, we've set up regular visits with a psychiatrist and therapist. We learned of and used an excellent service here in Austin, the Mobile Crisis Outreach Team , who will come out to the house to check on a patient. What an amazing service.  After a second hospitalization in May, we learned that not all hospitals are created equal.  While Shoal Creek doesn't look like much at first glance, they provide excellent care. Due to a lack of beds available in May, we were forced to send our teen to another, newer, seemingly nicer, inpatient facility in town.  Just two-and-a-half days there led us to get her out and file a formal complaint with the state.  Fortunately, she was able to get a bed a Shoal Creek fairly quickly and got the care she needed. This time, upon discharge, we were set up with IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) in a group called " DBT ." Thursday was our last night of the 7-week, 3-t

Walking Through Darkness With Your Teen - Part 1

I’ll never forget the moment my teen first came to me and showed me the cuts on her arms.  I said the first thing that came into my head.  Big mistake.  I rolled my eyes, “Really?  That is SO stupid.” I wish I could take it back.  I’ve learned a lot since that August afternoon; one of those things being to bite my tongue and look for a way to validate what she’s experiencing.  The first thought in my head is most often not the appropriate response.  A better response would have been,  “Thank you for coming to me. Can we talk about it?” or “Wow…I’m not sure what to say right now,” or "I'm sorry I didn't realize how bad you were feeling." I simply could have hugged her.  But in that moment, I was angry.  I was instantly hearing criticism in my own head, “If you were a better mom, she never would have done this.”  “That family member was right. You couldn’t even manage 3 kids, so why would you have 2 more?”  I also heard, “Don't reward her behavior by giving her th

Austin June Summer Fun

Flying high at our neighborhood park. A few months ago, the older 3 Brownies and I made a summer bucket list.  Much of that list consisted of some of Texas' best swimming holes .  We made it to 3 of the places on this list, plus a few more to boot. In the Texas summer heat, staying cool in the springs is one of the only ways we can enjoy the outdoors, although finding some nice shade in the awesome parks around here will also do, especially in the hours before noon or just before dusk. Our Austin June Fun Giving Sid some lovin'! We kicked off June by celebrating Austin's own celebrity dog, Sid's recovery from an unfortunate accident.  We had been following Sid on Instagram and Facebook for over a year and were happy to finally meet him and under such celebratory circumstances.  As the sun set, we were treated to a show by talented performers, Tian and Travis. Our first swimming hole of the summer was Jacob's Well .  We were drawn to this location be